After watching Nucatola talk about pricing — ranging from $30 to $100 per specimen — he said it appeared Planned Parenthood was looking to make a profit. Making a profit by selling body parts could be in violation of federal law and punishable with big fines and even jail time.
Caplan also called into question the practice Nucatola described of performing the abortion so as not to harm the organs they want to harvest for sale. Caplan told CNN reporter Elizabeth Cohen that such a practice would be “a big no-no.”
Nucatola told undercover investigators about how Planned Parenthood abortionists would manipulate the child into what’s known as the “breech” position, that is, feet first, so that forceps would not damage the internal organs. Babies are usually born headfirst. A breech birth is not considered the safest.
The Federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 includes findings by Congress of serious health risks for the mother undergoing such a manipulation including:
an increase in a woman’s risk of suffering from cervical incompetence, a result of cervical dilation making it difficult or impossible for a woman to successfully carry a subsequent pregnancy to term;
an increased risk of uterine rupture, abruption, amniotic fluid embolus, and trauma to the uterus as a result of converting the child to a footling breech position;
a risk of lacerations and secondary hemorrhaging due to the doctor blindly forcing a sharp instrument into the base of the unborn child’s skull while he or she is lodged in the birth canal, an act which could result in severe bleeding, brings with it threat of shock, and could ultimately result in maternal death.
Caplan said, “In abortion the primary goal is the give the safest abortion possible. Your sole concern has to be the mother and her health” and not the state of the harvested organs.
Caplan said it would be similar to how a doctor might treat a terminal patient if the patient is also an organ donor. He said doctor treating a patient based on how to get the best post-mortem organs would be “a huge conflict of interest…if you modify how someone dies, that’s unethical.”
Caplan is head of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse